Published : Tuesday, April 10, 2018 | 6:46 PM
Led by co-producing artistic directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, A Noise Within (ANW) announces its 2018-2019 season, themed “Let Me In.”
The season opens this summer with the return of a critically-acclaimed audience favorite: the musical misadventures of Man of La Mancha. This will be followed in the fall by Michael Michetti’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s shocking and provoking novella, A Picture of Dorian Gray, playing in rotating repertory with Tom Stoppard’s Tony®-winning comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. ANW’s holiday tradition continues for the seventh year with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by Geoff Elliott. In the spring, Shakespeare’s intimate tragedy Othello plays in rotating repertory with Tennessee Williams’ haunting memory play The Glass Menagerie and Mary Zimmerman’s mythical retelling of the classic Greek myth of The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts in Argonautika.
“All of our 2018-19 offerings feature characters who are outliers—people who have blazed their own trail but nevertheless struggle for acknowledgement and acceptance,” says Geoff Elliott. “Let Met In” isn’t about a physical space, it’s about the deeply human passion to be understood for who we are.”
“Whether they’re in self-exile (The Glass Menagerie), or shunned (Othello; Man of La Mancha), or led astray by hedonistic desires (A Picture of Dorian Gray), or thrust there by the fickle cruelty of fate (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) or the gods (Argonautika), all of these characters on the margins of society are fascinating and deeply resonant with anyone who has ever felt left out.”
For subscription tickets, please call (626) 356-3121, or visit online at http://www.anoisewithin.org/. A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, just north of the Madre Street exit off the 210.
The Plays – 2018-2019
Man of La Mancha
Written by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Original Production Staged by Albert Marre
Originally Produced by Albert W. Selden and Hal James
Based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote
Directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott
August 16–September 9, 2018
With sold-out houses, standing ovations, and performances added to its original run, Man of La Mancha earned A Noise Within’s 25th anniversary season a host of accolades and inspired renewed faith in the impossible dream. Chosen as a 2017 Critic’s Choice by the LA Times, the production’s previous stagings won rave reviews from critics whose praise include “A winner” (TheaterMania); “a stunning, modernistic, most entertaining take…Run, don’t walk to see this” (Broadway World); and “first-timers would be hard-pressed to find a better introduction” (LA Times).
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott’s adaptation of Man of La Mancha is set in a contemporary prison to challenge the audience with a world both recognizable and filled with foreboding. Under the collective power of the characters’ imaginations, prison walls dissipate into a modern-day triumph that defies all the odds.
“La Mancha is about the power of imagination. It’s a play that celebrates the transformative power of the theatre,” says Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.
In Man of La Mancha, playwright Dale Wasserman takes a more meta approach to the source material, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, originally published in the early 1600s. The fictionalized author ‘Cervantes’ is the main character of Man of La Mancha. While in prison during the Spanish Inquisition, he is forced to act out parts of Don Quixote for the other inmates. This story-within-a-story of Don Quixote’s musical misadventures – rife with love, chivalry, and of course, four-armed giants – unfurls into something more transcendent: a beacon of hope in a dire world.
A Picture of Dorian Gray
Based on the novella by Oscar Wilde
Adapted and directed by Michael Michetti
September 23–November 16, 2018
In its original 2006 run at Boston Court, A Picture of Dorian Gray received 2 LA Drama Critic’s Circle Awards and was praised by critics: “beautifully composed” (LA Times); “stunning theatre… a beautiful thing” (Pasadena Star News); “Michetti has brought Dorian to breathtaking life over 100 years later and Wilde himself would surely be thrilled” (Entertainment Today).
“Most people don’t really know the original Oscar Wilde novella,” says Michael Michetti, who adapted and will direct A Picture of Dorian Gray. “Many are familiar with it through the 1945 film, some through the Showtime series ‘Penny Dreadful.’ Both of those take huge liberties with what Wilde wrote. But those who do think they know the story think of it as a gothic horror story. That’s not entirely true of Wilde’s novella, and definitely not true of this adaptation. This adaptation is the most textually faithful theatrical adaptation I know of.”
Critics were shocked when the original novella was published in 1891, and the work still provokes. Entranced by the beauty of his own portrait, Dorian Gray sells his soul to preserve his youth and pays a price. This haunting and seductive adaptation lets Wilde’s language and wit sparkle, but strips bare the themes of hedonism and the insatiable pursuit of pleasure. As Gray descends into self-indulgent debauchery, those around him are drawn to their own ruin like moths to a flame.
Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott
October 7–November 18, 2018
Hamlet is turned topsy-turvy in this brilliant, Tony Award®-winning comedy that thrusts Shakespeare’s two minor characters to the frontlines with no rules except one: they are destined to die. Trapped in a universe where the flip of a coin always comes up heads and pirates can pop-up anytime, can our hapless protagonists triumph in a battle of wits, escape their fate, and make sense of a senseless world?
“If there were ever two outliers, it’s these two guys trying to figure out how to survive until the end of the day,” says Geoff Elliott. “To the end, they are trying to understand the rules of the game (ultimately to find purpose and identity) and unfortunately, they know things are going badly and will only get worse. But they don’t know how to stop and it’s only a matter of fate.”
First staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966, Tom Stoppard’s absurdist, existential comedy follows the misadventures of two minor characters, Hamlet’s childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the characters are used as pawns in the King’s plot against Hamlet, who outwits Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and causes them to plunge to their own deaths – which from their perspective is completely ridiculous and nonsensical. Clive Barnes of The New York Times described Stoppard’s play as “very funny, very brilliant, very chilling.”
The Holiday Tradition Continues!
Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol Adapted for the stage by Geoff Elliott
Directed by Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott
December 1–23, 2018
ANW’s delightfully festive, musically merry, holiday tradition returns. Families love the inspirational story of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge—the perfect burst of boundless good cheer for the season.
Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott (who adapted the play directly from the novella) and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott co-direct Dickens’ masterpiece about the redemptive and transformative power of love. This production was hailed for its “enchantment” by LA Weekly, with “fantastical stagecraft.” Dickens’ poignant tale is matched by evocative original music by composer Ego Plum.
“Remounting our acclaimed presentation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol allows families to once again take a supremely theatrical journey, and celebrate the power of forgiveness during the holidays,” says Geoff Elliott. “Ebenezer Scrooge’s rebirth from miserly curmudgeon to the epitome of love and generosity affirms our faith in the potent goodness of humankind during this beloved time of year. He is emboldened with the courage to change and to admit that he was wrong.”
William Shakespeare’s Othello
Directed by Jessica Kubzansky
February 10–April 28, 2019
Othello is the Bard’s most intimate of family tragedies about the breakdown of a man who has everything—power, position, and love—only to find his world decimated through intense mind games with his malicious ensign. Prescient in its searing social commentary of prejudice, betrayal, and thwarted ambition, Shakespeare’s thunderous drama examines who we trust and the price we pay for choosing wrong.
“Othello is a man who has every reason to be accepted and respected and loved,” says Geoff Elliott. “He is a general in the Venetian army whose tactical brilliance, skill of command, and patriotism have earned him numerous military accolades. But because he’s the ‘other,’ he’s not allowed to be accepted. He is an individual who has accomplished more than anyone else at that time, but the odds are still stacked against him.”
“Othello is an imperative conversation we need to be having right now,” says Jessica Kubzansky the director. “It is breathtakingly, screamingly relevant, and I couldn’t be more excited to have an opportunity to reexamine this play through the lens of today.”
Shakespeare adapted The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice from the story Un Capitano Moro (“A Moorish Captain”), first published in 1565 by Italian writer Cinthio. The play revolves around Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army whose ensign, Iago, orchestrates Othello’s ruin when he fails to promote him. Ben Brantley of The New York Times described Othello as a “taut portrait of lives razed by jealousy,” and Variety called the play “Shakespeare’s masterpiece of cunning.”
Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie
Directed by Geoff Elliott
February 24–April 26, 2019
An innocuous visit from a potential suitor unsettles the sheltered Wingfield family. Matriarch Amanda fiercely protects her adult children from the harshness of others, but doesn’t realize that her own eccentricities are the biggest threat to their psychological survival. Brimming with poetic language and indelible characters, this play about the enduring but limiting nature of love and family made Tennessee Williams a household name.
“A play very much about outliers, these people are all candles in the wind trying to understand how to survive in a world that seems to be populated by aliens,” says Geoff Elliott. “They feel like freaks.”
The Glass Menagerie is a memory play inspired by many elements in Tennessee William’s personal life – including his histrionic mother and his mentally fragile older sister, Rose. When it premiered in Chicago in 1944, The Glass Menagerie propelled Williams to become one of the most famous American playwrights. The play won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as Best American Play, and was first heralded by Claudia Cassidy of the Chicago Tribune as a play that “reaches out tentacles, first tentative, then gripping and you are caught in its spell.”
Marv Zimmerman’s Argonautika: The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts
Gaius Valerius Flaccus Translated by David R. Slavitt
Apollonius Rhodius Translated by Peter Green
Directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott
March 20–May 5, 2019
In this fresh retelling of the classic Greek myth, Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece has been reframed for our time. Join the fantastic voyage and encounter Hercules, Hera, sirens, centaurs, and more—familiar mythological figures imbued with unexpected character and depth. Discover humor, love, and the unimaginable as Tony Award®-winner Mary Zimmerman reveals the humanity in the most monstrous of creatures in this unforgettable journey for the ages.
“We’re taking a very familiar story to the high seas of a swashbuckling Greek adventure,” says Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. “This production will dive into the story’s magical whimsy and sense of wonder through the high-stakes drama and theatricality.”
As in her Tony Award®-winning Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman has once again transformed Greek mythology into a fantastical theatre adaptation. In this case, Zimmerman adapted the Greek epic poem “Argonautica,” written by Apollonius Rhodius about Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece and his relationship with the Colchian princess and sorceress Medea. Chicago Tribune called Zimmerman’s Argonautika “smart, fresh, endlessly imaginative and thoroughly enjoyable,” and San Francisco Chronicle hailed it as “a thoroughly engaging version of a timelessly entertaining myth.”
About A Noise Within
A Noise Within was called “an oasis for those who love classic stories” by The Los Angeles Times, and is a leading regional producer based in Pasadena. ANW’s award-winning resident company practices a rotating repertory model at their state-of-the-art, 283-seat performing space. This venue, established in 2011, has allowed ANW to expand its audience, surpassing its previous box office, subscription, and attendance records each year. In addition to producing world-class performances of classical theatre, the organization runs robust education programs committed to inspiring diverse audiences of all ages. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within truly delivers Classic Theatre, Modern Magic. http://www.anoisewithin.org